Judging by the intrinsic eccentricity of the Flaming Lips, Starlight Mints and now Norman, Oklahoma's Evangelicals, there must be something in that Red River water. So Gone, the trio's fittingly titled debut, is music of an alternative frame of mind, songs filled with a schizophrenic abandonment that has ties to the warped creativity of their Sooner brethren yet finds room for a peculiarity all its own.

Typified by the relentless energy of "Another Day (And You're Still Knocked Out)," the many ambitions of So Gone are held together by the fragile tenor and off-the-wall songwriting of Josh Jones. The former student body president and homecoming king weaves together a horde of influences (Meat Puppets, Yo La Tengo, Decemberists) and eras ('60s pop/psychedelia, pre-rock samba, early electronica) in order to produce an overstimulated racket that occasionally overshadows some damn fine melodies.

"Trouble I know is trying to steal the show," Jones sings on "Trouble," inadvertently commenting on a warped and wonderful salsa that is almost tinkered with too much. Several of the better numbers are nearly drowned into post-punk oblivion. By album's end, Jones and like-minded cohort Kyle Davis thankfully take a more hands-off approach and allow the retro wave of "Goin' Down" and rural acoustics of "The Water Is Warm" to settle into their natural tunefulness. Infested with beautiful extremes, the sound of the Evangelicals is fitful with contradictions, alive in ways that most pop bands can never imagine.

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers